Lenier Pero prevailed in the first televised fight of 2022.
The 2016 Cuban Olympic quarterfinalist outlasted countryman Geovany Bruzon to win an eight-round, unanimous decision win in an entertaining heavyweight scrap. Judges John Rupert (78-74), Toby Tamarkin (77-75) and Peter Zamoyski (78-74) all scored in favor of Pero in a rare meeting between unbeaten Cuban heavyweights Saturday evening at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Pero—an unbeaten Cuban southpaw now based out of Miami—landed the far more telling blows throughout the first four rounds, though at no point without catching heavy artillery in return. Bruzon showed a sturdy chin, absorbing several clean left hands from his countryman but managing to remain upright and as competitive as his skill set will allow.
The tide turned in a big way in round five. Bruzon—also a Cuban southpaw, but who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—wobbled Pero with a straight left hand that followed a right uppercut. Pero was forced to clinch and spent the rest of the round sticking to boxing and moving in efforts to clear his head.
Pero was forced to contend with a resurgent Bruzon in a competitive round six. Bruzon gained confidence from the preceding round, taking the lead during most of the exchanges though with Pero quickly transitioning from boxing to trading as he saw the opportunity to take the fight to Bruzon.
That instinct proved accurate in round seven. Pero went on the attack, cracking Bruzon with a wicked right hook to the body. Several left hands also found their way upstairs, though a subsequent right hook landed well below Bruzon’s beltline, resulting in a brief break and a stern warning from referee Samuel Burgos.
The pair of Cuban southpaws spent the entirety of the final three minutes fighting as if one more round would win it in either direction. Pero was busy enough to fend off the late surge by Bruzon (6-1, 5KOs) to preserve the win as he improves to 6-0 (3KOs).
The bout opened a PBC on Fox card preceding the all-heavyweight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event, topped by top-rated contender Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27KOs) and former IBF titlist Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25KOs) in a title eliminator. Headlining the free-to-air Fox card, Frank Martin (14-0, 10KOs)—who is promoted by Errol Spence’s Man Down Promotions—faces Philippines’ Romero Duno (24-2, 19KOs) in a scheduled ten-round lightweight bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox